Leahy delivers emotional Senate speech on retirement plans

Leahy delivers emotional Senate speech on retirement plans

Washington — A day after declaring he would not seek re-election, Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont told his colleagues in a moving speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday that they had become like family to him for nearly 47 years.

The 81-year-old, third in line for the presidency, as interim speaker of the Senate, said he was honored to fight for Vermont and that he did not take the decision to retire lightly.

“That’s the thing about the Senate. Here is where small states like Vermont not only have a seat at the table, but a vote at the table,” he said, noting that Vermont has championed farm-to-school programs and historic downtown revitalization, ideas that have gained momentum at the national level.

He thanked his crew and family, especially his wife Marcel.

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“My best friend, my partner,” Leahy said. “The past two years have been challenging in ways we could never have imagined, but she has been with me from the very first moment of the first campaign.”

Leahy said he and his wife would return to Vermont, where they met and where they started a family. “It’s time to go home,” he said.

“We both look forward to the hard work next year will bring and know, with the same conviction that brought us to Washington in the first place, that tomorrow’s brighter prospects hold hope for the future,” he said.

Referring to the privilege he felt in leading the country into the future, Leahy ended his speech with a fist in his voice. His colleagues welcomed him very warmly.

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